Disgraced Delyn MP to return to the House of Commons next week
Jez Hemming, local democracy reporter
A disgraced politician retakes his seat next week after his suspension for sexual harassment.
Rob Roberts was the Conservative MP for Delyn when an Independent Expert Panel (IEP) banned him from the Commons for six weeks at the end of May.
The panel found he’d made repeated and unwanted sexual advances towards a former member of staff, as well as inappropriate comments of a sexual nature.
The MP’s misconduct was described as “significant” in the report, while Prime Minister Boris Johnson described his punishment as “appropriate”.
The whip was withdrawn from Mr Roberts, leaving him effectively an independent MP, and there were calls for him to do the “honourable” thing and resign.
He steadfastly ignored those calls and will be able to retake his seat in the House from 00.01am on 8 July.
Some Members of Parliament wanted the recall clause, when an MP is forced to face a by-election, to be invoked in Mr Roberts case but a loophole in the recall procedure meant he evaded the process.
Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg said he would be discussing whether the loophole could be closed.
In a separate incident Mr Roberts admitted that asking out a 21 year-old intern, who he invited to “fool around with no strings” in London, was “inappropriate”.
When asked if he felt he should be readmitted to the Conservative Party Mr Roberts said it was “a matter for the Chief Whip”.
Questioned about whether he felt the six-week ban was “proportionate” his response suggested he felt it was too severe.
He said: “An appeal was made both against the decision and the sanction.”
A spokesman for the MP added: “Mr Roberts was elected as the Member of Parliament for Delyn and he fully intends to continue working hard for the people of the constituency as he has for the past 18 months.”